Monday, October 23, 2006


Oilers 5, Mickey Mouse Organization 2

First of all, full props to Allan for one of the funniest things I've read in some time. Scroll down a bit on the above-linked BoA thread: golden.

Anyway: a lot to get excited about, or at least mildly interested about, once you remember we're playing Phoenix. Two for 10 on the powerplay is nice, though might not be the righting of the ship it seems to be, given that the 'Yotes had a 77% PK rate coming in. Good to see Hemsky/Sykora/Thöresen clicking, though again, Phoenix had 33 goals against in 8 games. Basically, everything good that happened is balanced by the fact the Coyotes suck. And the flurry in the second was a bit troublesome. But whatever.

More importantly, let's get back to the Ëlectric Nörseman (you guys can call him what you will, I've found my favourite): MacT had some very kind words after the game, which were well-deserved. That first assist was six kinds of beautiful, and he buzzed all over the whole game, doing more or less exactly what was needed out of the third member of the Hemsky-Sykora-whoever troika: forechecking hard, reading their play, and deferring to them on all matters of offence, so long as you get in position. I can't say enough about how much I like this guy. I've said it before, but it bears repeating: Dvorak with hands (sorry Sacamano).

To turn our attention to the aptly named Dogs, though: how long before they look for a goalie? Not that you can really blame this one on Joseph purely, but his .871 save percentage tonight was only 5 points below his seasonal average, and Quimby has a downright Conklin-esque .811. Their team defence really isn't horrific—238 shots against is middle-of-the-pack—and their offence is getting chances, just not finishing them very much (again, their shots are middle of the pack, but their shooting percentage is 6.4%, 2nd last in the league—oh, and just as a by the by, whoever's hosting Inside Sports on CHED sounds absolutely shocked that Owen Nolan and Jeremy Roenick aren't effective anymore), and one has to think that will improve at least a little when people like Ballard and Reinprecht return. When you're this bad, there's obviously no single answer, but even a league-average goaltender would get them about one goal less a game, which at least keeps them in it through the third period.

I actually want to bring this up because I thought that, before the season started, there were a lot of teams who looked ostensibly set in goal (Phoenix, Detroit, us, Toronto, Philly, Florida, Boston, Colorado, Montréal, others) but could have easily gone either way, if certain goalies either fell off (Joseph, who was falling off already, Hasek), had hot streaks that wouldn't necessarily translate this year (Roli, Huet, Thomas/Toivonen) or just didn't live up to potential (Thedore, Lehtonen, Raycroft, Nittymaki). Obviously, things have gone different ways, and some teams are set, while others are pooched, Phoenix being one of them.

There are, ostensibly at least, still some good goaltenders available. LA has two extra goalies who showed they could play last year in Labarbera and Garon, though neither is a definite world-beater. Buffalo obviously has Biron, and looks like they could be dressing foam targets to play goal anyway, with their offence, San Jose has Toskala and Nabokov, Anaheim has Giguere and Bryzgalov, hell, even we have Jussi and a couple of kids who looked quite good in preseason, if the right offer came by for Jussi. Specific to Phoenix's case, the fact a lot of the teams are in the Pacific doesn't help their chances, and you'd think just by looking that they're not a team with much hope of winning now, and so shouldn't sell the farm (ie high picks), but still, there's bound to be some deals out there, especially this early in the season, for someone who's at least capable of splitting duties with Joseph, if not replacing him outright.

Beyond Phoenix, though, I'd be surprised if certain teams with obvious goalie troubles didn't start looking before, say, December to make a deal: as we proved last year, there's a big difference between a team that's good up front and terrible in net and one that's good up front and even average in net, and I don't think too many teams are as willing to watch points trickle through Ty Conklin's pads while they're doing everything else right as we were.

But anyway, back to the game at hand: GOILERS! And GOALS! GOALSOILERS! Or something.


Kyle said...

How long till there are changes in Phoenix of some kind? As far as I can tell its only a matter of time before players like JR are sent to the minors.

Honestly, I'm pretty sure the Pheonix farm guys are just as capable as the aging veterans at stinking up the joint.

Colby Cosh said...

It really hit home for me tonight that Mike Comrie is spending his best years playing for what could be a historically screwed-up team. I think I might have to go to church this Sunday.

Anonymous said...

Any chance of improvement before Barnett is gone? Don't think so. Yotes are becoming Isles of the west. Let's see how much can Gretzky take.

Paul O-the O stands for Sports said...

The Coyotes could develop into a real team in the next few seasons if they ever realize that they are completely backwards on offense. Especially when they can pull rookie defencemen like Ballard and Michalek out of their asses (even Yandle hasn't played too bad at this point.) Of course, when you're bringing in Geoff Sanderson two years after he stopped being good (and Owen Nolan and JR This year) you really fuck up your offence.

The Acid Queen said...

Is it wrong that when I saw the title of this post, I immediately thought "Werewolves of London"?

Just checking.

sacamano said...

Dvorak with hands (sorry Sacamano).

As somebody elsewhere (I forget where) pointed out -- Dvorak used to be Dvorak with hands. Let's hope the EN doesn't follow suit.

I'm with you, though. He's terrific.

sacamano said...

It really hit home for me tonight that Mike Comrie is spending his best years playing for what could be a historically screwed-up team. I think I might have to go to church this Sunday.

Is this because your prayers were answered or because you need to send some love upstairs to ensure that it doesn't happen to you?

Loxy said...

Karma has come to bite Mike Comrie.

Scarlett said...

I love karma!

Colby Cosh said...

Actually, I decided not to go after all. A just and/or efficient god(s) might be capable of constructing, or even be bound to construct, a hell for Mike Comrie. But I can't see any reason he'd put a guy like Laraque there (and then let Gretzky heedlessly humiliate him in front of an Edmonton audience).

allan said...

Awww, Chris! I feel so loved.

Is it wrong that when I saw the title of this post, I immediately thought "Werewolves of London"?

I sure hope not. I started singing it.

At work.

Pleasure Motors said...

Hey, allan, that was me! Fuck you, asshole, that's the last time I consider anything you write funny.

I'm with you on the Werewolves of London thing, though.

Chris! said...

Surely you can't fault people for assuming that every awesome post was written by me...


/if I had hair that long

Andy said...

Obviously, the desert is the NHL's pallative care ward, and it's great to see Comrie holding colostomy bags there, but I saw a goaltender thrown to the wolves tonight. Not a whiff of support. Thor's pass should've never gotten through there (good hustle though), Hemsky shouldn't have been allowed to shoot on the fifth goal (that was embarassing) - as a result, Cujo looks as disinterested as the rest of the team.
I wonder - can Gretzky fire Barnett?

allan said...

Hey, allan, that was me! Fuck you, asshole, that's the last time I consider anything you write funny.


Sorry. Apparently I scrolled down to far when I was checking who wrote it.

I should have known. Too coherent to have been written by someone in Toronto.

Anonymous said...

i saw wayne gretzky with a chinese menu in his hand
walking through edmonton in the rain